Monday, October 24, 2011

Sheena Easton: The Spanish Singles Of 1984 | 'Todo Me Recuerda A Ti'

It's not particularly uncommon these days to release singles in multiple languages (Celine Dion), but in 1984, the notion of re-recording an artist's hits in Spanish was novel (ABBA had successfully done so previously). After three years, Sheena Easton had yet to break into the Latin market, so why not?

Her fifth album Todo Me Recuerda a Ti, was targeted to Spain and South America, showcasing a dramatically, shockingly, comically "tanned" Sheena—aiming to make her look more like a chica than a Scot.

The album was tough to find in many U.S. markets. I couldn't locate it anywhere in metro Washington, D.C. I recall snatching it up, of all places, at a subway station record store in New York's Times Square when visiting the city in 1984. Natch, I was ecstatic.

Utilizing the same production as her English hits, Sheena phonetically sang "El Primer Tren" ("Morning Train"), "Teléfono" ("Telefone"), "Brindo Por Un Amor" ("You Could Have Been with Me"), "Todo Me Recuerda A Ti" ("Almost Over You") and "La Noche Y Tú" ("We've Got Tonight"); and album tracks "Mi Corazón Vuela" ("Wind Beneath My Wings") and "No Puedes Dejarme Así" ("Don't Leave Me This Way").

There were three new songs: "Ámame," "Una Vez En La Vida" and first single "Me Gustas Tal Como Eres," a duet with Luis Miguel. Not only did the latter hit the top 10, but the song earned Easton her second U.S. Grammy (following Best New Artist in 1982) and Miguel his first, for Best Mexican-American Performance. The win infuriated many Mex-Am musicians since Sheena was "an imposter," despite the fact that native Latino friends told me at the time that her accent was convincing, if perhaps overly precise. The detractors can, of course, bite me.

Second single "La Noche Y Tú" ("We've Got Tonight") was a dreadful duet with middle-aged Spanish vocalist and EMI labelmate Dyango, whose gruff, gritty, trembling vocal was a sonic nightmare next to Sheena's pure soprano. Not surprisingly, the song stiffed. "Teléfono" ("Telefone") was issued is Spain, then title track "Todo Me Recuerda A Ti" ("Almost Over You"), a top 20 hit.

Ultimately, the Spanish-language Todo Me Recuerda a Ti was a moderate success, going Gold in Mexico and Argentina—and leading to a gargantuan sell-out concert for Sheena in Chile.

Next up: Sheena's most successful album ever, featuring back-to-back top 10 hits. Plus... the controversy that put Sheena in good company with Black Sabbath, W.A.S.P. and AC/DC!